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Special Issue "Sustainable Branding and Marketing"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Chen (Website)

Director and Professor Center for Sustainable Business and Development, The University of Tennessee, 311 Conference Center Building, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4134, USA
Phone: 1-865-974-0505
Fax: +1 865 974 1838
Interests: sustainable business; sustainable development; sustainable consumer services; sustainable hospitality and tourism; branding; marketing; forecasting models; economic impacts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While facing trade-offs among companies, many leading environmental- thinking companies have recognized the value of both redesigning their products to prevent possible environmental problems and also of obtaining positive economical benefits from the three traditional priorities (reuse, reduce, and recycle).  As the green movement has stimulated profitable opportunities, new views of environmental business and sustainable branding/marketing have evolved.

Major strategy frameworks pertinent to green business growth include environmental concerns, green branding, challenges of greener supply chains, clean energy uses, volumes of carbon footprints, and recyclable packages.  Discussing the strategy framework from a green branding-marketing perspective, we invite you to contribute to this special issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, case studies, or research articles.

Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Chen
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • economical benefits
  • reuse, reduce, and recycle
  • green movement
  • sustainable branding
  • sustainable marketing
  • green supply chains

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle How Can Stores Sustain Their Businesses? From Shopping Behaviors and Motivations to Environment Preferences
Sustainability 2013, 5(2), 617-628; doi:10.3390/su5020617
Received: 2 January 2013 / Accepted: 18 January 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (492 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to (1) discover consumer purchasing behaviors while shopping as a tourist and shopping at home, and (2) investigate tourist shopping preferences for an ideal shopping environment. A sample of 1,235 respondents participated in this study. Survey [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to (1) discover consumer purchasing behaviors while shopping as a tourist and shopping at home, and (2) investigate tourist shopping preferences for an ideal shopping environment. A sample of 1,235 respondents participated in this study. Survey participants were asked to evaluate what store attributes they desired and what sources of information they used while selecting a store to shop in during their trips. Results indicate that consumers utilized various shopping channels while shopping in various environments. Also, different types of consumers exhibited clear preferences toward their ideal shopping environment. The results of this study are helpful for future service providers, tourism businesses, and tourism retailers to plan product development, provide better services, and equip a wider range of service skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
Open AccessArticle Tensions Between Firm Size and Sustainability Goals: Fair Trade Coffee in the United States
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 72-89; doi:10.3390/su5010072
Received: 5 November 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 20 December 2012 / Published: 4 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability marketing trends have typically been led by smaller, more mission-driven firms, but are increasingly attracting larger, more profit-driven firms. Studying the strategies of firms that are moving away from these two poles (i.e., mission-driven but larger firms, and profit-driven [...] Read more.
Sustainability marketing trends have typically been led by smaller, more mission-driven firms, but are increasingly attracting larger, more profit-driven firms. Studying the strategies of firms that are moving away from these two poles (i.e., mission-driven but larger firms, and profit-driven firms that are more committed to sustainability) may help us to better understand the potential to resolve tensions between firm size and sustainability goals. We used this approach to analyze a case study of the U.S. fair trade coffee industry, employing the methods of data visualization and media content analysis. We identified three firms that account for the highest proportion of U.S. fair trade coffee purchases (Equal Exchange, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks) and analyzed their strategies, including reactions to recent changes in U.S. fair trade standards. We found an inverse relationship between firm size and demonstrated commitment to sustainability ideals, and the two larger firms were much less likely to acknowledge conflicts between size and sustainability in their public discourse. We conclude that similar efforts to increase sustainability marketing for other products and services should be more skeptical of approaches that rely on primarily on the participation of large, profit-driven firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
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Open AccessArticle The Importance of Considering Product Loss Rates in Life Cycle Assessment: The Example of Closure Systems for Bottled Wine
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2673-2706; doi:10.3390/su4102673
Received: 23 July 2012 / Revised: 21 September 2012 / Accepted: 2 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
PDF Full-text (2566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Purpose: The objective of this study is to discuss the implications of product loss rates in terms of the environmental performance of bottled wine. Wine loss refers to loss occurring when the consumer does not consume the wine contained in the bottle [...] Read more.
Purpose: The objective of this study is to discuss the implications of product loss rates in terms of the environmental performance of bottled wine. Wine loss refers to loss occurring when the consumer does not consume the wine contained in the bottle and disposes of it because of taste alteration, which is caused by inadequate product protection rendering the wine unpalatable to a knowledgeable consumer. The decision of whether or not to drink the wine in such cases is guided by subjective consumer taste perception and wine quality expectation (drinking the bottle or disposing of the wine down the drain and replacing it with a new bottle). This study aims to illustrate the importance of accurately defining system boundaries related to wine packaging systems. Methods: The environmental impacts resulting from wine loss rates as related to two types of wine bottle closures—natural cork stoppers and screw caps—have been estimated based on literature review data and compared to the impact of the respective closure system. The system studied relates to the functional unit “a 750 mL bottle of drinkable wine” and includes bottled wine, bottle and closure production, wine production, wine loss and wine poured down the drain. Results: The range of wine alteration rates due to corked wine is estimated to be 2–5% based on interviews with wine experts. Consumer behavior was assessed through a sensitivity study on replacement rates. When the increase in loss rate with the cork stopper is higher than 1.2% (corresponding to 3.5% corked wine multiplied by a consumer replacement rate of 35%), the influence of losses on the impact results is higher than that of the closure material itself. The different closures and associated wine losses represent less than 5% of the total life cycle impact of bottled wine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
Open AccessArticle Empowering the Citizen-Consumer: Re-Regulating Consumer Information to Support the Transition to Sustainable and Health Promoting Food Systems in Canada
Sustainability 2012, 4(9), 2146-2175; doi:10.3390/su4092146
Received: 22 June 2012 / Revised: 17 July 2012 / Accepted: 31 August 2012 / Published: 11 September 2012
PDF Full-text (265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Both health and sustainability are stated public policy objectives in Canada, but food information rules and practices may not be optimal to support their achievement. In the absence of a stated consensus on the purposes of public information about food, the information [...] Read more.
Both health and sustainability are stated public policy objectives in Canada, but food information rules and practices may not be optimal to support their achievement. In the absence of a stated consensus on the purposes of public information about food, the information provided is frequently determined by the marketers of product. No institution or agency has responsibility for determining the overall coherence of consumer food messages relative to these broader social goals of health and sustainability. Individual firms provide information that shows their products to best advantage, which may contradict what is provided about the product by another firm or government agency. Individual consumers do not have the resources to determine easily the completeness of any firm's messages, particularly in light of the size of food industry advertising budgets. Government rules confound this problem because there is also little coherence between the parts of government that have responsibility for point of purchase, advertising rules, and labelling. The healthy eating messages of health departments are often competing with contradictory messages permitted by the regulatory framework of other arms of government. Investments in programs that successfully promote environmental stewardship in agriculture are undercut in the market because consumers cannot support those efforts with their dollars. This problem exists despite the emergence of “citizen-consumers” who have a broader approach to food purchasing than individual maximization. Only recently have some health professionals and sustainable agriculture proponents turned their attention to these factors and designed interventions that take them into account. In this paper, which builds upon earlier work by MacRae [1], we outline key short, medium and long term initiatives to facilitate the citizen-consumer phenomenon and better support consumers in their efforts to promote health and sustainability in the Canadian food system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
Open AccessArticle The Search for Value and Meaning in the Cocoa Supply Chain in Costa Rica
Sustainability 2012, 4(7), 1466-1487; doi:10.3390/su4071466
Received: 5 May 2012 / Revised: 27 June 2012 / Accepted: 3 July 2012 / Published: 10 July 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Qualitative interviews with participants in the cocoa (Theobroma cacao) supply chain in Costa Rica and the United States were conducted and supplemented with an analysis of the marketing literature to examine the prospects of organic and Fairtrade certification for enhancing [...] Read more.
Qualitative interviews with participants in the cocoa (Theobroma cacao) supply chain in Costa Rica and the United States were conducted and supplemented with an analysis of the marketing literature to examine the prospects of organic and Fairtrade certification for enhancing environmentally and socially responsible trade of cocoa from Costa Rica. Respondents were familiar with both systems, and most had traded at least organic cocoa for some period. However, most individuals said that they were seeking better product differentiation and marketing than has been achieved under the organic and Fairtrade systems. Many suggested that more direct recognition of individual growers and the unique value of their cocoa throughout the production chain would be more helpful than certification for small companies in the cocoa supply chain. These findings suggest new marketing techniques that convey an integration of meaning into the cocoa and chocolate supply chain as a differentiation strategy. This involves integration of the story of producers’ commitment and dedication; shared producer and consumer values of social and environmental responsibility; and personal relationships between producers and consumers. This marketing approach could enhance the ability of smaller companies to successfully vie with their larger competitors and to produce cocoa in a more environmentally and socially acceptable manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
Open AccessArticle Planting Trees for Publicity—How Much Are They Worth?
Sustainability 2011, 3(7), 1022-1034; doi:10.3390/su3071022
Received: 11 March 2011 / Revised: 13 June 2011 / Accepted: 6 July 2011 / Published: 18 July 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Corporate marketing departments use trees and forests for advertising and public relations (PR). Trees and forests constitute a tangible symbol of the environment, reinforced by the growing awareness of the role that trees play in preventing climate change. Although the carbon sequestration [...] Read more.
Corporate marketing departments use trees and forests for advertising and public relations (PR). Trees and forests constitute a tangible symbol of the environment, reinforced by the growing awareness of the role that trees play in preventing climate change. Although the carbon sequestration function of trees is valued in monetary terms, its derivative services to marketing, CSR or HR departments are not (‘greening the image’). We focus on voluntary carbon offsets and other tree-planting activities undertaken by companies, aiming to demonstrate that the value of these derivative services of trees should be considered in monetary terms. Based on a small survey and an analysis of financial data for 10 tree-planting projects in Poland, we estimate this value at USD 7.42 per tree. This value depends on external circumstances, such as the current interest in climate change and ways to prevent it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
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Other

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Open AccessDiscussion Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum
Sustainability 2012, 4(9), 2038-2050; doi:10.3390/su4092038
Received: 2 July 2012 / Revised: 8 August 2012 / Accepted: 22 August 2012 / Published: 31 August 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Globally, seafood is an important protein source because it is a nutritious food source produced with relative efficiency compared to other proteins. Because of problems related to overfishing and deleterious environmental impacts, over the last decade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased their [...] Read more.
Globally, seafood is an important protein source because it is a nutritious food source produced with relative efficiency compared to other proteins. Because of problems related to overfishing and deleterious environmental impacts, over the last decade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased their focus on seafood sustainability while businesses have incorporated this issue into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. Sustainability is a concept that can be addressed in terms of scale of issues considered (narrow vs. broad) as well as the scope of how they are measured (undemanding or demanding). Currently, the message of seafood sustainability is becoming complicated in that the journey toward sustainability is being referred to as having achieved a state of sustainability. In addition, companies making a “sustainable” declaration are often at different points in the “scale/scope” arena. As a result, buyers, retailers and consumers have difficulty differentiating between these products. Furthermore, they often assume that a “sustainable” product has no further need for improvement, when in fact this is rarely the case. This change in reference from a continual process (a journey) to a static point (it is sustainable) limits further advances in seafood sustainability and the drive for continual improvement. Herein, the “Law of the Minimum”, growth toward an end goal will occur until one factor becomes limiting, is adopted as an analogy for sustainability. By refocusing the sustainability discussion on a progressive series of challenges to be met, the discussion will return to the journey as the central point. Doing so will help refresh the dialogue around seafood, and to create new opportunities for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
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